How to receive God’s guidance

We all want to receive guidance from the Lord. You may need to make a decision in your marriage or with your children or regarding your work situation, and you wonder which way to go.  Well, the good news is that God promises to guide us!  Psalm 32:8 says “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”  The tricky thing is figuring out exactly how to access his counsel!

Here are two primary ways to access his wisdom and his counsel.  The first is….spending time reading His Word.  Duh.  But how many times do we come up with excuses as to why we don’t have the time or energy to spend much time reading the Bible?  Maybe it’s time to stop making excuses and DECIDE to make Bible reading a priority in your life.  We all make time to brush our teeth and take a shower, so why can’t we carve out 15 minutes for reading the Bible every morning?  😊  Reading the Bible will give you direct guidance on so many decisions you’ll need to make throughout any given day.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Next, spend time worshiping God and in “listening prayer”.  When we worship God, he draws near, and he longs to whisper to us through His Holy Spirit if we will strain to listen for that whisper to our souls.  1 Kings 19:12 “After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”  So try this.  Put on some worship music, or start singing a worship song. As you praise Him, close your eyes and envision God with you.  Now ask Him to whisper guidance to your heart.  Strain to listen. Did he give you a vision or nudge your heart in some way?  I believe He will guide you.  Just make sure that anything you believe you hear from God does not contradict what He says in the Bible.

A husband’s version of “spending time together”

Many wives are familiar with the Bible’s account of creation and know that after creating Adam, God said “It is not good for man to be alone.  I will create a helper suitable for him.”  (Genesis 2:18)   If you really think about this verse, it becomes clear that one of a husband’s core needs is to spend time with his wife so that he is not alone!

That sounds easy to accomplish. Right?  I mean most wives are totally willing, and even eager, to spend time with their husband….sitting on the couch, staring into each other’s eyes, and deeply sharing their feelings, thoughts, and hopes.  Ummm.  That’s not exactly how most men think about “spending time” with their wife!

A man’s version of spending time together typically involves physically doing stuff together, such as attending a sporting event, going hiking, playing golf, going fishing, walking through the home improvement store together, and yes, having sex.  That’s a man’s version of companionship.   This doesn’t mean you can’t ask your husband to spend some time with you in meaningful conversation from time to time, but it does mean you should consider engaging in his version of quality time periodically as well.  Try it, and see if he doesn’t fall just a little more in love with you. J

Making it through the seasons of marriage!

Since we all know what to expect with each season of the calendar year, we can prepare ahead.  However, when it comes to the seasons of a marriage, most of us are completely ignorant!  In our ignorance, we are easily caught off guard. We haven’t adequately prepared.  So, let’s be intentional about preparing for each season.  As Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit…”

So, let me offer a little insight into the seasons of a marriage, now that I’ve seen some seasons come and go 🙂   The first season is an exciting sprint to the altar.  We are giddy with excitement and anticipation.  As a bride, we are the center of attention.  The world revolves around us.  We feel like the princess in a fairy tale.  We love this season.  It feels like summer, when everything is in full bloom and the sun warms your skin.

However, once we return from the honeymoon, and life goes back to “normal”, we can feel let down.  It’s not all about me anymore!  Often, husbands feel like they’ve won the prize and get to relax now.  Sometimes the romance falls away.  We plug along, but it’s beginning to feel like fall.  The leaves are falling off the trees.  If we don’t pay attention, our marriage can become stripped of its vitality.

Then, children enter the picture.  We’re so excited, just like we enjoy the first snowfall of the winter.  It’s beautiful.   Sometimes this “winter season” is wonderful, but often we pay too much attention to the children and little or no attention to our marriage during this time.  If we don’t intentionally nurture our marriage, Satan sneaks in to cause trouble just like a cold draft sneaks under a poorly sealed door.

Ah, but then there’s spring.  If we’ve made it through those challenging winter months, and if we’ve been nurturing the relationship with our husband, our marriage begins to really bloom again!  The kids are growing up or are already out on their own, and you have some free time available.  You now have time for shared hobbies, shared adventures, shared pursuit of ministry opportunities, shared smiles with the grandchildren.  Spring is a wonderful reward for paying attention to your marriage during the other seasons.  It might include a little rain now and then, but hey, the rain helps bring new life.

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

How to become a smart, “intentional” wife!

So many women (like me) grow up thinking once they find their Prince Charming, they’ll get married, he’ll be perfect, and they’ll live happily ever after.  It’s as if we think we’ll be sprinkled with fairy dust or something and our marriages will thrive with no hard work on our part.  Not true!

We MUST intentionally work on our marriages.  When I start neglecting my husband, or when I fail to remember to press into the Bible instructions for wives….well, my relationship with my husband starts to get a bit more like we’re roommates who simply tolerate each other.  It happens so slowly that we often fail to notice the slow crumbling of a once-vibrant marriage.  Don’ let this happen to you!  Be intentional.  Proverbs 21:5 says “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”  So, be diligent in working on your marriage.  Wives who intentionally nurture their marriages have the most fulfilling and joy-filled marriages!

Here are just a few ideas on how to nurture your marriage. Ask God every morning how you can bless your husband this day, perhaps with a small act of kindness or a word of appreciation.  Ask God if there’s any small seed of resentment toward your husband that’s taking root in your heart.  If there is, ask God for wisdom in respectfully addressing this issue with your husband.  Carve out time for date nights or date lunches with your man every single week.  You may have to trade babysitting with another woman, but do whatever it takes to intentionally nurture your marriage.  Also, make sure you create opportunities to laugh together and have fun together. Those kind of moments are very bonding.

Great marriages don’t just happen.  They take effort….and it’s worth it!

2 simple tips to keep your house tidy

Many women struggle with keeping their house organized and tidy.  This is no surprise.  After all, many women are juggling so many responsibilities. They may have several children, hold a full or part-time job outside the home, try to fit in regular exercise to keep their bodies healthy and trim, and of course, try to keep the passion burning with their husband.  It’s no wonder that they don’t have time to keep the house tidy!  But the Bible indicates an excellent wife will manage her household well (Proverbs 31:27 “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”)

So what’s the overwhelmed wife to do?  Well, there are two simple things you can do to help you keep your house picked-up and tidy.  1)  Purchase plenty of inexpensive bins, or boxes or containers of some kind.   It’s extremely difficult to keep the house tidy if you don’t have a place to store things!  If you have children, make sure you have enough storage containers for their toys, shoes, school backpacks, etc.  If you find Sunday school papers and projects strewn around the house, buy a bin just for those things and ask the kids to always put those things in that particular bin.  Have a container for everything!

2)  Pick a time every day (perhaps after dinner or 30 minutes before bedtime), and tell the family that everyone is going to spend 15 minutes putting everything where it belongs.  This means picking up clothes off their floors and putting dirty clothes in the laundry bin.  This means picking up toys and putting them in their proper containers.  You will find that if you spend 15 minutes picking up every day that the situation will stay under control and you won’t be overwhelmed with a house that looks like a tornado tore through it!

What husbands wish their wives understood

My husband regularly talks with other men as the leader of a large men’s ministry called Band of Brothers For Christ.  Recently, I asked my husband what 2 things he believes most husbands wish their wives understood about men.  Here’s what he said:

1) That he needs to be valued by you.  In other words, he wants to hear you appreciate the things he does for you and the family.  He needs to be needed.

2) That you would appreciate his efforts….efforts to grow spiritually and in character, and that you would be patient and encouraging during that process.  My husband said it takes time for a man to break free from all the temptations of the world and the lusts of his flesh, and that it’s super helpful if his wife acknowledges any forward progress he’s making, no matter how small.

After my husband explained this to me, it occurred to me that wives will automatically start filling these needs in our men when WE seek to follow God’s instructions on “how to love” in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Sensing God’s comforting presence

If you’re like me, sometimes you desperately need to sense God’s presence.  When my relationships are challenged and I’m not “feeling the love” from my husband or family, I so need to sense God’s love and his comfort.  The good news is that God promises to hold us when we cry out to Him!  In Isaiah 51:12, God says “I, even I, am he who comforts you.  Who are you that you fear mere mortals?”

 However, it’s not like I can literally see him or reach out and grab his hand, so how can I take advantage of the comfort that He promises me?  Well, I take a clue from King David.  In Psalm 63:2, he says to God “I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.”   I believe David is talking about God giving David a vision of himself as David was worshiping.

I’ve tried this and it is a marvelous thing!  I enter a time of praising God, with or without music, and then I ask God to help me envision myself being in His presence in perhaps his throne room or maybe in a beautiful mountain meadow beside a pristine brook.  Why don’t you try this right now?  Close your eyes, voice thankfulness and praise to God, and then ask Him to allow you to see yourself with Him in a particular setting.  Can you sense His presence?  Do you sense His great love for you?  Can you feel His comfort?  Do you sense the warmth of His love?

If you’re struggling to experience God’s comfort, let me just say that you MUST believe that God will indeed reveal his comfort to you.  Have faith that you will sense God’s comfort.  Remember, your faith that God will fulfill his promises is vital.  James 1:6-7 says, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord”